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Vedanta slaps Notice of Claims on Government

Vedanta Group

London: After Cairn Energy of UK, London- listed Vedanta Group has slapped a Notice of Claims against the Indian government challenging the Rs 20,497-crore tax imposed on its subsidiary using retrospective legislation.

Billionaire Anil Agarwal-led group said it will take “all necessary steps” to protect interest against the tax notice on Cairn India.

The Group filed the notice against I-T Department move to impose Rs 20,497 crore in taxes and penalties on Cairn India for allegedly failing to deduct tax on capital gains made by its former parent Cairn Energy while doing a business reorganisation seven years back.

Cairn Energy had in 2006-07 transfered its India assets including the giant Rajasthan oil fields to a new company, Cairn India and got it listed on stock exchanges. It sold major shareholding in Cairn India to Vedanta in 2011.

“… Vedanta’s Board of Directors has instructed counsel to file a notice of claim against the GoI under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in order to protect its legal position and shareholder interests,” Vedanta said in a filing to the London Stock Exchange.

“If enforced, such tax demand would have serious consequences for Cairn India and therefore Vedanta’s investment in Cairn India,” the metal, mining and oil major said.

Indian government has also made a parallel tax demand on Cairn UK Holdings, for which the Edinburgh-based company has sought arbitration and is seeking compensation under the UK-India Investment Treaty.

Vedanta said the claim notice was the first step required prior to commencement of international arbitration pursuant to the BIT.

The company has been advised by leading international counsel that the retrospective tax legislation passed is a violation of protections accorded to investors under the BIT and constitutes a serious impairment of the treaty rights of Vedanta, it said.

“Vedanta and Cairn India will continue to take all necessary steps to protect their interest and the interest of their shareholders,” it added.

Cairn Energy of the UK also recently sought compensation from the Government of India for the loss in value it suffered due to an “unfair and arbitrary” Rs 10,247 crore tax demand raised using a retrospective tax law.

Cairn argued that the imposition of capital gains tax on transfer of its India assets to Cairn India was not only contrary to relevant legal standards but unjust because it was an internal transaction and no shares or assets were sold to any third party to make any capital gains.

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